NEW YORK (Aug. 19)
High tribute was paid today to Bernard Baruch by President Eisenhower, who interrupted his vacation in Colorado to fly to New York to participate in the dedication of Baruch Houses, a $32,000,000 Federal slum-clearance and low-rent housing project on the Lower East Side named after Dr. Simon Baruch, father of the American-Jewish “elder statesman.”
President Eisenhower, who was the main speaker at the ceremony, emphasized his “deep friendship” for Bernard Baruch and stressed the great services performed by him for the United States. Mr. Baruch, who celebrated his 83rd birthday today, was also greeted by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a message expressing personal appreciation for the contributions which Mr. Baruch made in behalf of cementing American-British friendship.
More than 2,600 guests attended today’s dedication ceremony. In addition to President Eisenhower, the speakers included Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri, Herbert Swope and high city officials. Francis Cardinal Spellman delivered the invocation. Bishop Charles F. Boynton blessed the 27-acre project which, when completed, will house 2,194 families. Rabbi Bernard J. Bam-burger closed the ceremony with a benediction. After the President’s address a bronze bust of Bernard Baruch was unveiled by his daughter.
Dr. Simon Baruch left East Prussia at the age of 15 and came to Camden, South Carolina, where he later married Miss Belle Wolfe, a seventh-generation American girl of a religious Jewish family. He studied medicine at South Carolina Medical College at Charleston and at the Medical College of Virginia. After his graduation in 1862, he joined the Confederate army as a surgeon.
Bernard Baruch is the second child of Dr. Baruch. He was born in Camden, but came to New York with his parents in 1881. His mother was especially happy over the move to New York because there was no synagogue in Camden, since there were very few Jews there at that time. In New York the Baruch family attended religious services regularly and young Bernard was taught Hebrew by Dr. Mendes, a Portuguese rabbi.
The New York press today carries editorials congratulating Bernard Baruch on his birthday and pointing out that the housing development is named after his “immigrant father.” “These solid and substantial honors,” says the Daily News, “are only fitting, we think, to the character and achievements of all the Baruch family’s members. They have given just about as much to their country as their country has given to them. They are patriots in the finest sense of the word and they deserve well of the Republic.”
The World-Telegram, in an editorial, stated: “Our birthday greeting to Mr. Baruch carries the wish that he will live to see more of his own ideas on public policies prevail, as he has lived to see his father’s ideas on health and medicine become accepted.”